By Claire Ruckin and Tessa Walsh
LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - State-backed Irish BankResolution Corporation (IBRC), the former Anglo Irish Bank, isconsidering selling a loan portfolio of up to 2 billion euros($2.58 billion) as part of its push to wind up its operations by2020, banking sources said on Tuesday.
The move follows a series of portfolio sales by eurozonecrisis-hit lenders looking to rid themselves of low-price loansafter high funding costs made it too expensive to hold ontothem.
IBRC's latest portfolio consists of around 2 billion eurosof corporate loans, banking sources said.
UBS has been mandated to assess the quality of the loans,investors' appetite for them and the options available to IBRCif it opts to sell them.
The portfolio is likely to be split up before being sold offto end investors. UBS was chosen after a number of bankstendered in a public procurement process, bankers added.
The portfolio of debt could increase to include real estateloans, several bankers said.
IBRC and UBS declined to comment.
IBRC was formed in September 2011 after Anglo Irish Bank,which had been nationalised in January 2009, merged with IrishNationwide Building Society (INBS) in July 2011 following ajoint restructuring plan approved by the European Commission.
INBS had many residential mortgages which are now part ofIBRC while most of Anglo Irish Bank's personal and corporatedeposit accounts were transferred to the AIB Group.
IBRC's total assets at 30 June 2012 amounted to 53.2 billioneuros, according to its website.
Since nationalisation, IBRC has been focused on assetrecovery and the management and reduction of its loan books,predominantly in Ireland and the UK. It has already sold itsScottish loan book and is well advanced in the sale of its USloan book, according to the bank's website.
"We have focused our entire organisation on the orderlywork-out of the Bank's loan books over time," IBRC said on itswebsite. "Our goal is to achieve full resolution of the bank by2020."
Portfolio sales have raised hundreds of billions of eurosfor cash-strapped lenders, starting with UK banks Royal Bank ofScotland and Lloyds in 2010, followed by Portuguese, Greek andIrish banks in early 2011, when high funding costs made it tooexpensive to hold low-priced loans.
Loan portfolio sales accelerated as the eurozone crisisintensified in August 2011. Spiraling funding costs andaggressive capital targets forced French banks to unload loansand Spanish banks have been the latest to get involved, withSantander's sale of up to 2.5 billion euros of loans to Bank ofAmerica Merrill Lynch (BoAML).
UK and Irish banks have continued to sell down their debt.Lloyds alone managed to sell or work out around 23 billionpounds ($36.80 billion) of loans in the first half of 2012 and atotal of 53 billion pounds in 2011.
Bank of Ireland mandated Deutsche Bank to sell athree-billion euro portfolio of assets in 2011 and earlier thisyear Allied Irish Bank sold a 300 million euro-equivalentportfolio of loans to BoAML.
AIB and Bank of Ireland are still in the market to sellmore, bankers said.
($1=0.7711 euros)($1 = 0.6251 British pounds)
(Reporting by Claire Ruckin; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)
Keywords: IBRC LOANS/